We had the good fortune of connecting with D.J. Johnson and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi D.J., why did you pursue a creative career?
I chose to pursue an artistic career to prove to myself that it could be done. I was a Social Studies teacher, and although I loved teaching, I hated the way the curriculum for the subjects were structured. So first, becoming a creative was something that happened out of the blue

I didn’t become a creative or even know I had any creative talents until I was 29/30. But it took another 5 years for me to believe a creative life was even attainable. So now to be an exhibiting artist and teaching graphic design is mind blown.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.

I am most proud of my evolution as an artist. I was not born with “talent”. I had no evidence of serious artistic ability growing up (maybe a few poems) , so I never considered or even thought of becoming any kind of artist. Not even a rapper. Lol. I didn’t find my creative talents until I went through a major depression because of a divorce and bankruptcy, and from my standpoint what came out of that depression was a gift from God. So no, it was not and has not been easy in any sense. My art is always a journey through my struggles with mental health. I channel all my emotions that need to be constructively expressed through my art. The hardest part has been finding and mastering a medium to weave this gift and skill into the fabric of a career and business.

The challenges have been overcome by waking up every day with the intention of “moving forward”. Sometimes I move fast, sometimes I move slow. And sometimes we even fall….but I still fall forward. I make new mistakes because I keep trying new things, expanding new concepts, mediums etc.

I honestly dont’ think there is one big lesson that I have learned because life is fluid. And especially in this new era, what I thought I knew for sure , I don’t know anymore. Lol.

I want people to know that mental health issues in black men are real. We struggle, seriously…. It’s a mental war and a physical one with society every day. I want my artwork to tell a colorful story of my overcoming these battles.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My best friends and I are going to one of three places, Golfing, Shooting, or Fishing. Top Golf, A gun Range, and fishing on one of best friends’ boats on his lake.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am blessed to be deeply supported by an entire community (Family, Friends, and Work Family) throughout my artist journey, and because you have continuously believed in me and supported and encouraged me. There is no way I can name all who have played more than pivotal parts in this journey so to my entire Tribe I humbly say THANK YOU!! #BRM #SWD #MBC #GHC #KINATTI #YCTMS

Website: https://www.inverttheworld.com/

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